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Interesting Facts About Left-Handed People

Trivia about lefties
My son is left-handed and I started referring to him as "Southpaw Tweed" when he started pitching in Little League last season. At first he was pretty annoyed, until he learned that left-handed pitchers are pretty important in baseball. I decided to show him that left-handers are pretty important people in lots of other ways than throwing a ball or swinging a bat.

Here's what I've learned, some pretty cool facts about left-handed people.

Right-minded - Most people know that the right side of your brain controls the left side of your body, so literally those who are left-handed are the only ones that are right in the head!

Left-eared? - We know that people tend to favor one ear or the other when trying to listen intently, but did you know that your choice of ears actually effects the tone of what you're hearing?
A Georgetown University Medical Center study in 2012 recognized that your right ear hears rapidly changing sounds better, like consonants. Your left ear hears slowly changing sounds better, such as vowels. Researchers hope to use this knowledge to improve language disorders in people with impaired hearing or brain trauma.
 Left-handed people aren't neanderthals, but some neanderthals were left-handed.
University of Kansas researchers studied teeth of neanderthals and were able to determine that based on tooth-wear, most held food in their right hand, but some held it with their left. Because the wear was uneven, this means that individuals preferred one or the other. Apparently being a lefty has been in our genetic code for a long, long time.
Left-handed people may be crazy!
 About 10% of people are left-handed. However, in people diagnosed with schizophrenia, dyslexia, ADHD, and other mood disorders are about 20% left-handed. Yes, 4 out of 5 crazies are right-handed, but the difference is too significant to be ignored. Unfortunately, researchers haven't discovered why there may be a link, just that it probably exists. 
Lefties are more artsy.
Lots of lefties have claimed to be more creative. Lots of creative people are lefties. This isn't proof, however research published by the American Journal of Psychology says lefties are better at "divergent thinking", a method of idea generation that explores many possible solutions. 
Another group studied 2000 people and found that lefties were more likely to be involved in careers in the arts, music, athletics or information technology. 
Are lefties natural leaders?
President Obama is left-handed.
This hasn't been studied but a disproportionate number of lefties have held the highest office in our land. Four out of the last seven US Presidents were left-handed, including President Obama. President Clinton, President George H.W. Bush and President Ford were also lefties. Before them President Garfield, President Hoover and President Truman were lefties, and some believe that Ronald Reagan was born left-handed but was re-educated by a strict teacher.
Southpaws will beat you in sports.
Left-handed people are notably superior in sports where the opponents face each other. A pitcher faces the batter. Boxing and tennis also have superstar left-handers. In one book by Rik Smits, the author suggests that this is because left-handers get more experience competing against righties than the other way around. 
By the way, the term "Southpaw" comes from baseball. At one time baseball diamonds were always built with home plate pointing West, thus South would be to the pitchers' left. 
Are lefties chickens?
A research study presented at the British Psychology Society has participants watch and eight minute clip from the movie "Silence of the Lambs". Left-handed people were more likely to show subtle symptoms of Post Tramatic Stress Disorder. The researchers suggested that different sides of the brain process fear differently.
Was Bashful the Dwarf a lefty? Probably.
Scientists at Abertay University in Scotland studied lefties and righties with behavioral tests and discovered that lefties are more bashful and self-observant. They reported a higher rate of being hurt by criticism. 
What's unclear is whether lefties are more bashful by nature or whether being bashful was the result of experiences as a lefty. 
Are lefties drunks?
For years there has been a myth that left-handed people are more likely to become alcoholics. A large study in the British Journal of Health Psychology should clear things up a bit. A study of 25,000 people from twelve countries found two interesting conclusions. 
Among those who drink, left-handed and right-handed people are equally likely to suffer from alcoholism. So, they aren't drunks.
However, while they aren't more prone to alcoholism, they are more likely to drink and tend to drink more often than righties. So, they aren't drunks, but they do like to get a 'drink on'
International Left-Hander's Day is August 13.
The UK based Left-Hander's Club has declared August 13th as their own every year since 1992. It's not clear how many non-club members participate worldwide but the club encourages people to do things with their left hand one day a year.
Personally, I'm not endorsing this. I want the armed police officer, the cleaver wielding Sushi chef, my dentist and the taxi drivers all operating on with their preferred hand. (Speaking of operating, the heart surgeon should feel free to take the day off on August 13 too.)
So, who's a lefty? Here are a few famous lefties.

  • The previously mentioned US Presidents (scroll up)
  • Senator Bill Bradley - Politician and basketball star
  • Benjamin Franklin - Kite wielding electrician, among other hobbies
  • Steve Forbes - Businessman and politico
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg - Supreme Court Justice
  • Senator John McCain - Presidential candidate and Senator
  • Senator Bob Dole, although he cheated. His right arm was injured while serving in the military
  • Joan of Arc - Bad Ass French girl
  • Julius Caesar - Bad Ass Italian guy
  • Napoleon Bonaparte - Bad Ass French dude
  • Fidel Castro - Bad Ass cigar smoker
  • Benjamin Netanyahu - Bad Ass Jewish dude
  • Alexander the Great - Bad Ass... come on, his name is "The Great". He's the Bad Ass-est. 
  • Prince Charles - Ok, not so much of a bad ass. 
  • Henry Ford - The car dude
  • David Rockefeller - The money dude
  • Helen Keller - Seriously?! Didn't this girl have enough problems?
  • Matt Groening - The Simpsons creator
  • Bart Simpson - Coincidence, no.
  • Boston Strangler - Killer
  • Jack-The-Ripper - Killer
  • John Dillinger - Killer
  • Check out this really big list of lefties


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